Roy Boone (left), slam dunk champion Justin Williams and Chariss Dupaty
Roy Boone's professional basketball career ended in 2007 at age 30 with the now defunct American Basketball Association's oddly named Minnesota Ripknees. But that doesn't mean he can't play ball anymore.
"I still got it on the court," chuckles the 37-year-old former Wisconsin Badgers guard, and a member of UW's Final Four team in 2000 as a 6-foot-3-inch junior.
Boone, a graduate of Madison East High School, was recruited by former Badgers coach Dick Bennett and later played overseas in Germany before jumping around the Continental Basketball Association and the ABA. He's been active in local youth sports and mentoring programs for years. Now he's in the process of expanding a summer basketball league for high school graduates, past and present college players and even pros.
What began this summer as open-gym sessions for Boone and some of his buddies at the Goodman Community Center on Madison's east side quickly morphed into a real league, complete with a draft, resulting in six teams of 10 or 11 players each. Boone recruited old teammates for what he simply calls Roy Boone's Summer League, including former Badger Kammron Taylor (2003-2007), and Portland Trail Blazer Wesley Matthews and University of Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon (both Madison Memorial alums).
"A lot of those guys are from here, and there's a lot of talent in Madison," Boone says. "I also wanted to do something for the dudes who were good enough to play for a college team but didn't, for whatever reason. They still want to play at a high level."
Boone charged players a $10 participation fee to cover referees and scorekeeper costs, provided a strength and conditioning coach in Jon Hinds from Monkey Bar Gym, allowed spectators to watch for free, sold concessions during games, put on a slam dunk contest, organized a playoff system and handed out end-of-season trophies and awards.
Over the winter, Boone plans to extend the length of the season, add teams and encourage greater participation: On his short list? More former Badgers, including Mike Wilkinson (2001-05) and Michael Flowers (2004-08), plus additional active pros and overseas players.
"It's definitely going to happen," says Boone, who was married last year and was cradling his three-month-old daughter while speaking to Isthmus. "I'm still figuring out the logistics. This will be good for Madison, and I think there will be a fan base for it. This is about guys who just love to play."